The 2013 Ministerial Conference in Bali: Last Chance for the WTO?

25-11-2013

The current round of international trade negotiations are expected to culminate in the ninth Ministerial Conference (MC9) taking place in Bali from 3-5 December 2013. These negotiations are the continuation of those launched in Doha, Qatar, in 2001. Since then, seven Ministerial Conferences have taken place, but a deal has proven elusive. There are many reasons put forward to explain this, with the principal ones being the emergence of major developing countries and their wish to rebalance the trading system; the concept of ‘the single undertaking’ (meaning nothing is agreed until everything is agreed); and to the intrinsic difficulties of finding agreement among 159 member countries, each of which has its preferences for the scope and content of any agreement. The MC9 is generally seen as the last chance in the foreseeable future to reach a global deal. Failure in this respect would represent a serious setback for the WTO.

The current round of international trade negotiations are expected to culminate in the ninth Ministerial Conference (MC9) taking place in Bali from 3-5 December 2013. These negotiations are the continuation of those launched in Doha, Qatar, in 2001. Since then, seven Ministerial Conferences have taken place, but a deal has proven elusive. There are many reasons put forward to explain this, with the principal ones being the emergence of major developing countries and their wish to rebalance the trading system; the concept of ‘the single undertaking’ (meaning nothing is agreed until everything is agreed); and to the intrinsic difficulties of finding agreement among 159 member countries, each of which has its preferences for the scope and content of any agreement. The MC9 is generally seen as the last chance in the foreseeable future to reach a global deal. Failure in this respect would represent a serious setback for the WTO.